When 'Lie to Me' debuted on Fox last fall I must admit I was very interested to see where the show would go. I had just watched a History Channel production on the art of telling if someone is lying by studying their facial movements and body language. I found it fascinating as they reran old presidential speeches, or footage of celebrities, pointing out signs of disgust, anger, or self-comfort. It is a unique skill that is practiced by professionals. These professionals are hired to do consulting work for high profile people. They're hired to coach politicians on exactly what to do and probably more importantly what not to do. The premise of 'Lie to Me' had so much potential I couldn't miss its premiere. Boy was I sad to see the finished product.
The problem with 'Lie to Me' is really two-fold. First, you could essentially call the series 'House 2: Solving Lies.' Bring in a British actor, Tim Roth, make him an aloof narcissist who doesn't take any crap from anybody and swaggers around the office because he's always right. Throw in a few puzzling cases replacing medical mysteries with mysterious lying, add a team of quirky young employees, and a formula that never deviates from its course, and you have another instant hit on the Fox network.
The second problem with 'Lie to Me' comes with its lack of subtlety. Each and every facial twitch, hand movement, forehead adjustment, and smirk is over-exaggerated, but in case the audience missed said gestures, the lie detectors are there to helpfully point out, in minute detail, exactly what happened. It gets tiresome to say the least. The audience is never given a chance to figure out exactly what is happening for themselves. Instead we are led with a giant carrot throughout the entire plot of each episode with the overt explanations by Dr. Lightman (Tim Roth) and his Truth Brigade.
Dr. Lightman and his group are subcontracted out by everyone from local police to foreign dignitaries who need to know if someone is telling the truth. The show's formula quickly kicks in with two mysteries that can only be solved with our hero's unique skill. After a few episodes you'll be able to guess the “twists” that inevitably happen in the last few minutes, only to have Dr. Lightman save the day with a 'House'-esque revelation.
I'm sure 'Lie to Me' has its fans, and if you're just sitting down to veg out in front of the TV without a real purpose, this show may give you some entertainment. If you're looking for a show to really invest some time in while hoping for a worthwhile return on your investment, then this isn't the show for you. It's just too tied down by its formula and too much of a rehash to be anything original.
'Lie to Me' is coming back to Fox for a second season, and I have faith the show's writers and producers can bring the show into its own territory. Truthfully though, if you could see the face I was making right now, you'd be able to tell I don't believe 'Lie to Me' will become anything more than a thinly-veiled, formula-ridden rip-off.
Unlike the lackluster show itself, the 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer of 'Lie to Me' boasts a strong, but at times problematic presentation; especially for a television show.
The first two discs in this three disc set have five episodes each. With that many hour-long episodes crammed onto a disc you'd expect to see compression artifacts like macro-blocking. I was glad to see that these compression objects aren't anywhere to be found. After reviewing a few TV shows, namely 'Burn Notice Season 2,' which were hampered by heavy compression, it was nice to see that a show with this many episodes per disc could fare well.
Unfortunately, the transfer still falls far short of perfect. Contrast is all over the place, especially in outside scenes. Blacks tend to blend and at points delineation becomes a real problem. Wayward noise pops up every now and then, and some scenes feature some heavy edge enhancement.
'Lie to Me' features a mild DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack.
In this talky show the dialogue is clear and never muffled. Directionality of voices and sound effects works well with the front channels. The rear channels remain somewhat anemic throughout the season. They provide some ambient noise at points, but it's nothing that feels truly enveloping. The subwoofer is mostly silent too, unless a particularly bass-filled song comes on the soundtrack or the drama requires it to build a bit of tension. It's an adequate track for this show, but is nothing that will overly impress.
Sorry fans, you won't be hearing Tim Roth's smooth British accent on any audio commentaries, because there aren't any. It's a shame really. With a new show I'm sure fans would really like to hear what went in to making the show and where they got the ideas for some of the episodes.
Simply put this is a fans only release. With so much stuff to watch on television it's hard to fit in another show. If you've already made time for 'Lie to Me,' then pick this title up for a formulaic ride in lie detecting, otherwise don't bother. The mediocre audio and video presentation don't add much to the value either.
All disc reviews at High-Def DVD Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.